Dunleavy Confirms Offer
Coach Mike Dunleavy confirmed Monday that the Clippers have offered 7-foot center Chris Kaman a multiyear contract extension.
Dunleavy declined to comment on financial terms, but team sources said the offer is for five years and $50 million guaranteed.
And now things could get interesting.
Under NBA rules, Kaman has until Oct. 31 to accept. If the offer is rejected, Kaman would become a restricted free agent after this season, and the Clippers could match any offer he received from another team.
The Clippers are not expected to offer Kaman much more because of salary-cap concerns, and Kaman intimated he and agent Rob Pelinka had envisioned a higher average salary. As the Clippers prepared to play the Phoenix Suns in an exhibition tonight at US Airways Center, Kaman was the center of attention.
“I’m not going to go for what’s under market value for my position after how I performed last year and what I know I’m capable of,” said Kaman, who also declined to discuss specifics of the offer after practice. “If we don’t get something done, we can always wait until the summer and see what happens then.”
Kaman, who has a salary of almost $3.5 million in the final season of his current contract, would receive a raise to about $8.5 million in the first year of the new offer, which Dunleavy presented to Pelinka on Sunday night after owner Donald T. Sterling, General Manager Elgin Baylor and Andy Roeser, executive vice president, agreed last week on a package that would average $10 million.
At the prodding of Baylor and Dunleavy, Sterling, who in the past has let the market set the worth of the team’s restricted free agents, took a proactive approach in approving the major offer to Kaman.
However, it might not be enough.
Responding to reporters’ questions about his situation, Kaman repeatedly referenced the contracts of centers Samuel Dalembert of the Philadelphia 76ers and Tyson Chandler of the New Orleans Hornets.
In August 2005, Dalembert signed a six-year, $64-million extension and Chandler received a six-year, $63-million contract from the Chicago Bulls, who traded him to the Hornets in a multiplayer deal in July.
Neither player has been as productive overall as Kaman, who had personal-best averages of 11.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.38 blocked shots last season while shooting 52.3% from the field and 77% from the free-throw line.
The 76ers rewarded Dalembert after he averaged 8.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.68 blocked shots. In Chandler’s best season before his extension, he averaged 8.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.76 blocked shots.
“I know what guys have gotten most recently with Dalembert and Tyson Chandler,” Kaman said. “I know what they did in their years when they got paid, and I think my numbers are probably a little bit better in some areas.”
Based on his opinion about his standing in the game, Kaman is believed to be seeking a five-year contract averaging at least $11 million a season -- more than Dalembert and Chandler.
But with Kaman at an average of $11 million, the Clippers would approach the luxury-tax threshold if they, as planned, offer a multiyear extension to backup point guard Shaun Livingston before the 2007-08 season.
“Honestly, I think this was a very significant offer that was made to Chris, and we’d obviously like to see this get done,” Dunleavy said. “We think it would be in the best interest of our club and best for Chris as well, but there is a deadline.”